State Slots Revenue Could Boost Park Heights Community

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A slots pay-off presents a challenge for city planners.

Pat Warren reports the city must decide what to do with its $2 million share of state slots proceeds.

Eye-catching action on the Pimlico Race Course, but the other side of the track is nothing short of an eyesore with rows of dilapidated houses and residents living in between.

“It’s pathetic and there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Rochelle Short, Park Heights resident.

Slots money could make a difference.

Pimlico Race Course entitles the city to a share, even without a Baltimore casino, and the first $2 million installment is coming in, but residents are divided over where to spend it. A plan to build a new park is drawing criticism.

“People need places to live, but they want to build a park. OK, they gonna sleep in the park? That’s what’s gonna happen. They’re gonna sleep in the park and that’s going to be an issue. So fix up the houses. Stop wasting money,” said Malik Basit, Park Heights resident.

Some residents would be relocated. Irene Lewis lives next door to an abandoned city-owned property.

“We’ve been living here for like over 20 some years, and I would hate to vacate my home,” Lewis said. “If anything I would like for them to improve the conditions around it, not for us to have to move away from it.”

That too is possible.

“We can offer some new revitalization loans for homeowners so they can fix up their properties,” said Tom Stosur, Baltimore planning director.

The worst of them would be demolished.

“We definitely care about our neighborhood, trust me, a lot of people out here is on a positive note. We try and better ourselves,” one Park Heights resident said.

They may finally be getting a boost. A public meeting is set for the end of this month, after which Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will settle on a plan.

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